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Did you wait too long to make Valentine’s Day dinner reservations? Don’t worry about it! Here are some stress-free suggestions for last-minute festivities — for Valentine’s or anytime — that don’t necessarily require a reservation in advance.

Take a Coffee & Chocolate Class at Crema

This one may require playing hooky from work for a couple of hours, but this Coffee & Chocolate class from Crema is oh-so-worth it! From 11 a.m. until noon on February 14, compare and contrast coffee and cocoa beans as you learn about the history, processing and, of course, flavors of these two beloved staples. Tickets are $50 per person — we recommend making reservations in advance on this one due to the limited number of tickets available. Learn more here.

Stroll through Cheekwood

Instead of buying flowers, meander through flowers. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Cheekwood Botanical Gardens has some of the most stunning gardens in the South. And with 55 acres to explore, it’s well worth the $20 admission. Once you’ve had your fill of flowers outside, head inside to peruse the art and check out the current Orchids in the Mansion exhibit, which runs through March 1.

Plan a Picnic at the Park

One-stop food shops, such as Corner Market and Tinwings, make it easy to drop by and pull together a spur-of-the-moment picnic feast. (Whether you picnic outdoors or in will depend on the weather!) At Corner Market, peruse a variety of sides and cold salads, including chicken salad, pimiento cheese, artichoke rice salad, and kale and quinoa salad. Corner Market also has lots of fun dessert bars, including mint brownies (with festive pink on the inside rather than green) and delicious red velvet bars.

At Tinwings, pick up gourmet grab-and-go dishes such as roasted salmon, tuna or egg salad, an assortment of dips and spreads, or the fabulous hand-rolled quiche with a butter-based crust. Be sure to score some of its homemade sweets such as Nutella brownies and raspberry crumble bars, too.

Mint brownies for Valentine's Day

Corner Market makes Valentine’s Day a little sweeter with their mint brownies. Image: Corner Market

Show Some Art Appreciation at 21c Museum Hotel

21c Museum Hotel is more than a top-notch hotel. The art housed within is stellar, too. Plus, it is free and open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so visit Valentine’s Day or any other time. The current exhibit, Fragile Figures: Beings and Time, is sure to captivate you. And while you may or may not still be able to snag a reservation for the special Valentine’s Day dinner menu at Gray & Dudley, you never know when a coveted seat at the bar might open up — the perfect opportunity for a late-night, post-art tour cocktail.

Pour Candles at Paddywax Candle Bar

If date night deserves a little outside-the-box thinking, Paddywax Candle Bar delivers, giving you an opportunity to design and create your own custom-made candle. Both Paddywax locations in East Nashville and Berry Hill offer one-hour pouring sessions, allowing you to customize your candle by choosing your vessel and fragrance. Mix your wax and fragrance oil, place your wick, and leave your candle to set — you can come back in a few hours or a few days to pick it up. Classes are $35 per person, and grab a bottle of wine to bring along — it’s BYOB-friendly. Reserve a spot here.

Paddywax Candle Bar class for a Valentine's Day date

Learn the art of candle-making at Paddywax Candle Bar. Image: Paddywax Candle Bar

Taste Wines and Listen to Jazz at Arrington Vineyards

Enjoy Valentine’s at Arrington Vineyards during the three-day-long event that runs Friday, February 14, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, February 15, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, February 16, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Its free Valentine’s Day Celebration features live solo jazz music from songwriter Reed Pittman and, as always, you can taste wines from the vineyard as well as purchase a bottle to drink as you listen to the entertainment.

Experience a Little French-style Romance

French is the language of love, so add a little authenticity to your Valentine’s Day plans by starting your morning at Little Gourmand. French-born Owner Guenievre Milliner offers, “I would definitely start with a real French breakfast: a good espresso, croissants with salted butter (the real thing, with the sea salt crystals!) and a nice jam.”

She also reminds us that French movies can kick the romance up a notch. Take some sweets to go (don’t miss the macarons and limited edition Amour Toujours cake) and head home for a comfy afternoon of subtitles and love stories.

RELATED: Guenievre Milliner of Little Gourmand: FACES of Nashville

Amour Toujours cake from Little Gourmand

The Amour Toujours cake is a delicate Champagne mousse on a thin chocolate meringue, covered with a red “velours” chocolate frosting. Image: Little Gourmand

Attend a Free Concert at Union Station

Union Station Hotel boasts legendary stories of secret elopements and hasty ceremonies conducted just before soldiers shipped off to war, their weddings taking place in front of the old train terminal’s grand limestone fireplace. To this day, the hotel provides the backdrop for countless weddings — including on Valentine’s Day 2020, when the hotel is hosting 15-minute commitment and vow renewal ceremonies in front of that very fireplace. Even if you aren’t looking to take your date that far, you can attend the concert that follows, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Former Old Crow Medicine Show guitarist Chance McCoy will be playing in the lobby, and the intimate performance is free and open to the public.

Exterior of Union Station for a Valentine's Day date option

Head to the historic Union Station Hotel to witness vows and enjoy a free concert. Image: Union Station Hotel

Peruse the Nashville Night Market

Head to East Nashville with your loved one from 5 p.m. to 9 .m. on February 14, and cruise through the special Valentine’s Night Market where you can relax, drink and shop for something unique. Enjoy live music and even a chocolate fondue fountain — is there anything more fitting for Valentine’s Day? Admission to the Night Market is free unless you can snag an opening at the ticketed Paint & Sip, which is $40 per couple and starts at 6 p.m. The class allows for 12 couples to learn painting techniques while simultaneously enjoying tasty libations. Given that space is limited, if the Paint & Sip event is at the top of your agenda, we encourage making advanced reservations here.

Take a No-Bake Cookie Dough class

Sweeten your plans by bringing your love to a no-bake cookie dough class with the founders of NoBaked Cookie Dough. Starting at 8 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, the hour-long class teaches the process of making NoBaked dough and gives you an opportunity to customize your own flavor. Oh yeah, and they give you a free glass of wine while you learn. It even comes complete with a take-home apron and pint of cookie dough. Registration is $65, and you can sign up here.

Go on a Nashville Mural Tour

If you’re a local, you can likely recite the location of at least a handful of popular murals that pepper Music City. From Kelsey Montague’s Wings in The Gulch to the 1,200-foot collaborative project on Charlotte Avenue, brightly colored wall art can be found from one end of Nashville to the other. Start at one end of town and make Instagram-worthy memories as you go. Make sure you don’t forget the brand new “Candy Hearts” mural in The Gulch, unveiled just this week at Finnleys, which provides the perfect backdrop for an impromptu Valentine’s photo session. For a more comprehensive list of murals to visit, check out some of our favorites here.

Nashville mural for last-minute Valentine's Day date idea

A tour of Nashville’s murals can be the perfect way to make some lasting Valentine’s Day memories. Image: Katy Anne, Unsplash

Experience Inebriated Shakespeare

Shakespeare and an over-indulgence of cocktails? Quite the combo, indeed, and perfect for a night of laughter and romance. Inebriated Shakespeare is an acting troupe that performs abbreviated versions of Shakespeare while imbibing, resulting in a hilarious, one-of-a-kind theater experience. For a $5 donation to the non-profit theater company, you can even join in the raucous fun by purchasing shots for the actors (cash preferred) and help them on their merry way. Of course, wine and cocktails are available for your consumption as well. The acting troupe performs in bars and clubs across Music City, and this particular performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be at City Winery on Friday, February 14. The doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7 p.m. General admission tickets are only $10 per person, and more event details can be found here.

Go on a Scavenger Hunt

If you’re looking for a little Valentine’s Day adventure, Urban Adventure Quest turns Nashville into a huge game board with an exciting three-hour scavenger hunt. Using your smartphone, you and your date can solve clues that lead you from one location to the next, where you’ll learn about local history and complete challenges to continue moving forward in your hunt. For $49, you can play at your own pace and start when you want, making it an “Amazing Race”-style tour of Music City!

Indulge in a Nashville Staycation

For something slightly more extravagant this Valentine’s Day, there’s always a Nashville staycation. With so many beautiful boutique hotels to choose from, you’re bound for a weekend of room service and relaxation! Some of our favorite local spots are the historic Hermitage Hotel, vibrant Fairlane Hotel, brand new Moxy at Hillsboro Village, East Nashville’s Fieldhouse Jones and Dream Nashville in Printer’s Alley. If you are unable to find an available room at any of the hotels we’ve mentioned, be sure to check out additional options here.

Exterior of The Hermitage Hotel

The Hermitage Hotel is a fantastic option for a Nashville staycation. Image: The Hermitage Hotel

We hope your Valentine’s Day is filled with romantic fun!


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